House GOP Spending Bill Would Require USPS To Keep Saturday Mail Delivery

A spending bill being put forward by House Republicans would force the Postal Service to keep Saturday mail delivery:

The new House GOP spending bill directs the U.S. Postal Service to deliver mail six days a week, against the wishes of the nation’s postmaster general.

A House Appropriations aide confirmed that the spending measure, which would fund the rest of fiscal 2013 and avoid a government shutdown at the end of the month, mandated that USPS continue six-day delivery.

Congress has used the appropriations process to force USPS, which has lost billions of dollars in recent years, to continue Saturday delivery for roughly three decades.

Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe had announced a plan last month to get rid of Saturday delivery of letters and other pieces of first-class mail in August, which the flailing agency said would save some $2 billion a year.

Under the plan, the Postal Service would continue to deliver packages, a growing part of their business, six days a week.

Postal officials have said that they believe they could move forward with their plan even if congressional appropriators did not remove the six-day delivery language.

But Donahoe has also urged lawmakers to get rid of any requirements for Saturday delivery, and has consistently pointed to polling that says people in the U.S. support the decision. USPS suffered close to a $16 billion in the 2012 fiscal year, and currently loses about $25 million a day.

“You don’t want the Postal Service to fail in this country. It’s my responsibility, and I’ve taken that responsibility to make sure that we do everything in our power,” Donahoe told the Senate Homeland Security Committee last month.

“And I’m imploring Congress, please do not force us back into a six-day window. Let us make the move in August.”

As I’ve said before, it strikes me as largely ridiculous that the USPS needs to get Congressional permission to make what are, in the end, ordinary business decision. The Postal Service is in this bizarre position where it’s no longer a Federal Government enterprise per se, but where it’s under the significant control of Congress for every ranging from what it names its postal facility to business decisions like whether to cut back on Saturday delivery. Indeed, one can argue that many of the problems the service faces today are due to Congressional interference. Perhaps it’s time to cut the cord.

FILED UNDER: Congress, Economics and Business, US Politics, , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. C. Clavin says:

    It would be good if we could eliminate the Congresses ridiculous pension funding mandate…which is the primary reason the USPS appears to be in financial difficulty.
    So yeah…cut the cord. Congress is incompetent…thanks in no small part to the tea stain.
    They shouldn’t be running anything.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The new House GOP spending bill directs the U.S. Postal Service

    And they inserted the funds to pay for it too…..


    Sometimes I just crack me up

  3. mantis says:

    Indeed, one can argue that many of the problems the service faces today are due to Congressional interference.

    Yes, from Republicans who want to force it to lose more money so they can point to it and say that government doesn’t work. They are not legislators. They are political saboteurs.

  4. Tony W says:

    This from the party of “fiscal conservatives”

  5. MM says:

    @mantis: Yeah. It’s a win-win. They force it to stay open so that their rural constituents still get daily mail and then use it as an example of why government can’t spend money wisely or run a business well.

  6. C. Clavin says:

    The very same bill cuts funding for Acorn…a group that has been out of business for 3 years.

  7. john personna says:

    I’m kind of flummoxed. I don’t know why House Republicans would do thinks to highlight their own idiocy like this, and then I don’t know why Doug would miss that as The Big Story.

    I mean, is “one can argue that many of the problems the service faces today are due to Congressional interference” the only way to ignore the elephant in the room?

    “Both sides do it, government is the problem, business should be left alone,” or some such BS.

  8. john personna says:

    @Tony W:

    It’s the party of “broken government, so we can prove broken government.”

  9. Mr. Replica says:

    @C. Clavin:

    The very same bill cuts funding for Acorn…a group that has been out of business for 3 years.

    I’m surprised they didn’t include extra funding just in case the USSR makes a comeback.

  10. C. Clavin says:

    Mr Replica…
    It’s called the Defense budget.

  11. LaMont says:

    @C. Clavin:

    It’s called the Defense budget.

    Better yet – The republican’s jobs program.


  12. Franklin says:

    My forehead has an imprint of my palm.

  13. Hal 10000 says:

    Stand by for hearing next week on why USPS is losing money.

  14. Duh, it’s a continuing resolution. Since for many years every other continuing resolution and appropriations bill has included the Saturday Delivery prescription this one does too. If the GOP were to remove this from the bill you (or at least most of your commenters) would accuse the Republicans of trying to sneak in policy change in the dark of night. And by the way, if Cliff has his way our children and grandchildren will be paying the freight for postal retirees instead of rate payers like the big banks, the big publishers and the big mail order houses. Most of what the postal insiders are calling prepayment is an acturially sound obligation that should be paid here and now. Everyone knows the postal system won’t be able to pay it later.

  15. john personna says:

    @Let’s Be Free:

    So no one on the GOP staff has been reading the news, and would strike a word or two to save the solvency of the USPS?

    Pull the other one.

  16. Not Likely says:

    @john personna:

    Saving USPS is contraindicated.

  17. Mr. Replica says:

    @C. Clavin:

    You would thank that, but that’s far too logical.

  18. al-Ameda says:

    Just a little bit more from the “Republicans Hate to Govern” File.

    Seriously, this is why comedians have so much material to work with – they hardly have to write their own stuff.